I refuse to use dragons, vampires, or zombies in my novels. Dragons have been way overdone and I suspect vampires are quickly approaching saturation. However, as the agents and editors say, when a good dragon or vampire story comes along they'll buy it. I will not be the one to write it.
I have been mulling over a different mythological creature for a feature role in one of my stories. One rarely used in fantasy novels, and one that has potential for one heck of a fun game.
Which sent me online to research mounted games.
I'm not sure how Jo Rowling went about creating quidditch. I don't know if they play dodge ball in Great Britain, but quidditch has all the earmarks of hockey, keep away, and dodgeball -- on flying broomsticks.
I began my research with polo, but polocrosse better suits my story. It's already a combination of two sports (polo and lacrosse) created in Australia.
Then I discovered pato, a mounted game from Argentina (also known as horseball). I've got to work it into my invented game!
Most mounted games had their origins as methods to teach and maintain battle skills. I hope to use the game to reveal character, create tension between characters, and foreshadow a pivotal scene later in the story.
Some time ago I discovered Patricia C. Wrede's world building questions at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America web site. The questions work whether creating a sf/f world from scratch or recreating a historical setting. Under the "Arts and Entertainment" section she asks "What sports or pastimes are common?"
So here I am, wondering how quidditch was birthed, and attempting to devise my own rock 'em, sock 'em game.
How much fun is fiction?!